For the February 2018 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, we asked Chef John Piombo at Nonna’s Ristorante to cook up a hearty meal for snow-loving families. Enjoy this online-exclusive recipe, and get the February issue for Chef Piombo’s story, the full menu, and photos of the delicious meal.
This is a very simple bread recipe. You can add aromatics if you like, but I just love plain bread. It doesn’t compromise other aspects of its use, such as in sandwiches or la scarpetta (mopping up extra sauce on a plate). My daughters are all about this. I’ll hear, “Hey, dad, do we need bread?” They make the dough before going to bed so that it’s ready to pop in the oven first thing in the morning before they head out to school. It has become an evening ritual, like brushing their teeth. There’s nothing better than fresh bread in the morning, and when we’re baking at 6 a.m., it feels like we are paying homage and respect to all the bakers out there. —Chef Piombo
Makes one loaf
- 1½ cups water
- ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1¾ teaspoons salt
Add water to a large mixing bowl, sprinkle in yeast, mix it together and allow it to activate. Add flour and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon to incorporate all ingredients (dough will be sticky). Cover and let rise 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put a pan with water on the bottom baking rack to create humidity/moisture.
Lightly flour a large rimmed sheet pan, place dough on the pan, and lightly dust with more flour. Bake between 30 and 45 minutes (if your oven bakes unevenly, turn sheet pan midway through the baking process). Remove bread from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.